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Half Of Germany running on Solar power!!!

When is America going to get its head out of the sand and get with the program? Solar is cheap and feasible now, there is no reason we can't surpass what Germany is doing. Is there any coincidence Germany is one of the only thriving economies on the planet? it's called getting out of the oil economy. Oh yeah, we're too busy worrying about homosexuality and abortion, who's got time for real issues?
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Miodrag Stojilkovic's profile photoEric Flores's profile photoAxel Kratel's profile photoNåah Lifland's profile photo
407 comments
 
We'll get right on that as soon as we've figured out how to give all the solar money to the existing oil companies running the show. For now, they haven't quite figured out how to continue their complete domination if solar really took root.
 
+Kyle Turpin sad but true. Well, I am going to stop my money from flowing to the oil companies. I am making a pledge to go solar by the end of this year. That means solar panels on the roof and buying a Nissan Leaf.
 
Here in the Modesto area they have started a Solar Farm.  The only problem I see with it is that when completed it will take up over 100 acres of good fertile soil.  The Central Valley has some of the best farming soil and it's awkward driving by all these solar panels.  Why not use the desert?  Or a different location or roof tops.

155 acres of good farmland to be exact.
 
German legislature managed to pass a bill that required electric companies to buy solar power from home owners. And they are out in front in panel production as well. Wasn't big oil throwing its weight around there as well? Maybe every single government hasn't rolled over for big lobbying, ....yet.
 
Last weekend was clear and hot in the UK, so assuming the weather was similar in Germany, how does last weekend's record compare with solar generation during cloudy weather in the winter? It sounds great, but I have the nagging suspicion that the article is being seriously optimistic.
 
In NJ There is a big push for solar. The state have been installing panels on almost every telephone pole.
 
+Samuel Penn It's clear (no pun intended) that Germany will have challenges when it's cloudy, but as the article points out, the US solar coverage is 6000 times as great as Germany's, so the US really doesn't have an excuse for not going solar. It's a cumulative effect, and solar has to be a European collaborative effort, i.e. when the Mediterranean states join in, they could take up the slack during bad weather.
 
"Solar is cheap and feasible"

That's a laugh. Solar is a waste of money.

"When is America going to get with the program"
It already has. And it was a waste of time and money.
 
+Chad Pratt Seems You love it to pay for gasoline, while Your own roof could deliver much cheaper.

25 miles per US$ at a BYD e6 crossover
 
Is it pollution free, and reducing dependence on dependence on Coal etc., much polliting sources of energy.
 
Gas is only cheaper if you ignore the costs paid by our Soldiers in the last 2 decades.
 
My house will be solar! Capial currently is the only thing holding me back! Our power grid is insufficent and is damaging the soil we inhabit!.......
 
For versions of half that are less than 14%
 
+Chad Pratt And who will pay all the demage caused by the CO2 from the coal? It seems You think that You will not pay for it, otherwise You would not write such a nosense like cheap coal.
 
Germany stands to lose a lot of dollars if other countries decide not to follow in subsidizing green technology. The German government has been penalizing other energy sources for a long time and they are still not competitive on price (in a free market) if all the carbon tax penalties on other energy sources were removed. The American government is not uniformed on this issue as you make them out to be and let me assure you that if you have a cheaper alternative to gas and coal you will not need government handouts and interference. If the technology is really there you will be able to bypass the governments and deal directly with the consumer. I would change over night if it was cheaper.
 
Government can get money.... It's called campaign contributions and super-PAC money.... Just like BO, she'll and exxon give to them
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When will people in the USA fully realize the truth?

It's not how you produce it, it's how you waste it (or not) that counts most!

Before spending 1$ on solar, spend it on insulation to reduce how much energy your poorly insulated and drafty, leaky, stick built homes waste.

1$ on insulation is worth 3$ on solar - or in real terms, paid off in 10 years, rather than 30 (by which time they will have broken).

You did it with cars, bolting energy sapping catalytic converters on huge gas guzzlers, don't make the same mistakes again!

And if building a home, do it in icf and concrete because you get a much better home AT THE SAME PRICE, (yes, seriously) Don't believe the hype pumped out by the timber industry $$$$ your new concrete home is GUARANTEED CHEAPER - see http://www.quadlock.com/insulated_concrete_forms/icf_energy_savings_guarantee.htm

AMERICA, CONCENTRATE ON BEING less wasteful BEFORE being persuaded to invest your money to do the electric companies job for them . . . .
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+Chad Pratt I take it you have shares in Exxon then...
Its this 'screw it, its there and let my kids/grandkids worry about it' attitude that's going to fuck humanity up the ass in the long run.
 
We have the ability to do this but the notion that alternative energy is subsidized like oil and coal is a republican nightmare... Small government is the only way to do things... Private sector will solve all the worlds's issues.... Get you head out of you ass... A manhattan project with alternative energy is the only way, except a new global war, to get the US entirely out of the economic crisis, and get off the fossil fuel titi!!!!
 
Other states could assist in the production of power for the states that went through longer periods of little sunlight!. We are supposed to be united right?
 
+Roland Mösl you need to educate yourself on the extremely highly pollutant process that makes the solar panels.

Far more severe than burning natural gas.
 
+max billouin a beautiful idea but the greedy bastards that live in/run the country think otherwise.
 
+Doug Mercado Very true. It is money & power, and power & money game from which most people of this planet suffer, be it US or any other place on this planet. Little reading of relation and impact of oil industry & governments( Here I mean political parties more), would suggest conclusion close to your post.
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+Chad Pratt but a better long-term solution re: solar panels. How many people die to make a solar panel?
 
I had my solar panels fitted on thursday
 
If Germany had our oil reserves they would be smart enough to use them.
 
The initial post is incredibly wrong, Germany is much smaller and has way less people than the US, their economy is not thriving. Spent 3 yrs over there
 
I love how people try to ignore that the oil-reserves won't be forever....
 
Thats all good and solar is great and all that; I'm not a "big oil is baaad" kinda guy but its definitely corrupt...
Germany is the size of a shoe box, the US is gigantic, its a tough comparison...
It seems like ppl are okay with the govt "making" ppl do stuff as long as it makes you feel good.
Lets compromise: I will go solar and drive an electric car if the govt will leave my guns alone. CA outlawing open carry is a travesty and it doesnt seem to matter to ppl. Can we compromise folks? Or should we just let the EPA tell us what to do...

c'mon man, a leaf? are you serious? :p How bout somethin with a little more machismo... :p
 
How many US solar companies have gone bankrupt in the past year? Is solar really viable? Especially as it isn't good for baseline.
 
+jody Read go spend a healthy 10 grand on some panels for your house. You MIGHT save a few hundred dollars by the end of the year in electricity. You will have to spend almost all of that savings on maintenance. Then in three years you will need to drop another 10 grand on new panels as the panels begin to loose effectiveness after just one year.

It would be much cheaper to buy energy efficient products, upgrade your home's insulation, and donate the other 10 grand to alternative power research.
 
+Roland Mösl I will accept that about the GOP if you have an equally amusing name for the DNC, you know they get campaign funding from the same special interests, right?
So lay it on us, D.N.C... what do ya have for me... make it funny because the GOP one made me snicker...
 
This is an amazing accomplishment, where are the solar power lobbyists since it seems that's the only way anything gets done.
 
you guys have no idea what you're talking about... I built my own solar panels and the $/kw/h is really high compared to oil etc. ... plus the gov doesn't make money on its own, it taxes you in order to have $ for your "solar panel project" to power up the country.

plug in your electric car to charge only from your solar panels mounted on your roof and see what happens ... it will suck all the power :>

look at Solyndra (California solar company) and see what happend after the gov gave them half a billion$ ...
 
I think even cloudy states and areas would benefit from solar. Not saying you have to "become dependent" of it. But even something small like enough to run just the lights in your home or even just a toaster is a step in the right direction. Yes, breaking away from oil dependency would be great. But not exactly as easy to do, realistically. However, to lower that dependency would benefit every one on Earth. 
 
ouch +Brian Blindauer do you really believe that? Its about who is "smarter"? Interesting, since people aren't flooding to Germany because of their smarts...
 
What is the other half of Germany running on?

 Nothing is wrong with more efficient cleaner and /or renewable energy.  But it has to be phased in over time when it is economically feasible.  In the meantime, we should use our own resources that are more affordable and abundant.  
 
I cannot understand what our F***ing Indian govt doing over here .. I do not think Germany gets the same favor from the almighty Sun as we do ... I have already got half boiled .. anyone wish to have me on his plate
 
I roll metal that is used to make the panels .so bring it on so I have workn
 
just to add my 2 cents worth....whether the US can, or will, begin a retrofit to solar, I notice that everyone seems to be overlooking one thing from the article and comments..mainly, the production of solar panels produces a lot of toxic waste, and consumes a lot of energy in the simple manufacture of them.

Too many of the commenters seem to idealize Solar Power as a "perpetual motion" scheme. There is much more to it, especially in a money-driven country like the US, than just plopping some panels on the roof and yelling, "Look at me and how good I am!"
 
Republicans will put windmills on the moon before they will let solar work in the States! 
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You are not being honest.  Solar is not cheaper.  Check and see what Germany is paying per kwh
 
If the cost of lives per solar terawatt-hour produced is large enough, adopting solar over nuclear or fossil power will dramatically reduce unemployment and the pressure on the food and water supplies.   Reducing the footprint of humanity would probably be beneficial overall to the rest of the life on this planet.  ;)
 
The US economy is four times Germany's, and it consumes seven times the energy Germany does.  Considering this level of solar energy production could only be managed for one weekend, this isn't evidence for massive taxpayer spending on solar; sorry.

Space-Based Solar Power beamed to Earth via microwave radiation is the long-term future, though.
 
Yeah, bad old Republicans. Everything is their fault.
 
from +Kevin Brown link...quote: In the words of the German Association of Physicists, “solar energy cannot replace any additional power plants.” On short, overcast winter days, Germany’s 1.1 million solar-power systems can generate no electricity at all. The country is then forced to import considerable amounts of electricity from nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic.

Even the Germans, it seems, are not as favorable, overall, as the OP would suggest.
 
Cost per Kilowatt for a "currency" that is weak can be expensive, but who cares? They are just preparing the country for a new war, to not commit the errors on previous campaigns. ;-)
 
If oil subsidies didn't exist I bet we'd be a bit closer...
 
Great - so at the midday under clear skies in the summer at time of low demand, solar is producing 50%. And what happens for the other 80% of the time? How about peak demand times of dark winter mornings and evenings?

It wouldn't matter if every single square foot of Germany or the US was totally covered in solar - every single fossil fuelled or nuclear generating station is going to have to be spinning 24x7 to keep the lights on. It's called "spinning reserve". Google it. 

Which bit of magic pixie dust am I missing here?
 
yep the current challenge is the panel's cost and sure its proving to be  a big challenge.
 
+Axel Kratel you struck a nerve with this post.  I left my computer and it had a few +s and a few shares.  I come back and this thing exploded.  Great to hear everyone's views on the issue!
 
My hopes that this time they are able to finish the French ;-)
 
Aah now I see the plus ones send me emails so I can reply to each person indipendently....I am enlightened!
 
It's a little bias.America is much more diverse and larger land mass.overall USA is doomed. we will cut off our noise despite our face in the name if our constitution and the imaginary goal of perfect unity. The Bobble heads would rather talk about what could happen than make any real decisions and have anyone dislike them.so nothing gets done.status quo.
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+Florin Gacea is right. I would love to use solar but the cost is too high. Germany's cost per kwhr is over 3 times the US average cost. I'm spending my money on insulation, turning down the AC, etc. I don't need the government subsidizing someone else either by raising my taxes.
 
what republicans are wrong, we should   use solar & wind power 
 
Does the Sun shine every day on some desert ?Is it not beyond the Nations to utilise the Free Power for the benefit of all.The answer is no for Greed.Distrust Rules the World.Are their no Brains on this Planet  capable of creating a Blue print,a Beautiful Plan  to set The People Free from Black Gold Blowing Wild,Blowing Wild!..Beginning to sound like I am in a Gary Cooper /Barbara Stanwyck film...LOL!
 
I agree solar in the home is good, but like stated by another... There has to be a trade off. I don't care for the electric cars with their 50 horsepower, I don't care if they can go 500 miles on a single charge or if they were able to go a hundred thousand miles. They are still slow. Show me a 300 horsepower electric car then maybe il become more interested.

Solar power is not a waste of money, as another has said we have 10-20 year old calculators running solar just as good as the day it was made. I blame the oil company's and the govt for the "issues" another posted about. (With maintenance and faulty panels and such that "lose effectiveness". I wouldn't doubt they're made that way on purpose so that someone can still make money on it as they believe solar is free energy and just like the entertainment industry "buying movies and music online is the same as piracy as its uncontrolled and due to lack of a physical barcode on the case, can't show ownership". Seriously who thinks of this crap? It's all just another way to control the standards and even if buying the disk, your creating waste by using paper and plastic that's unneeded. They can not adapt, and there is too much corruption (look at SOPA and pipa and even the ndaa for proof of that). 
 
Solar is cool...so would cold fusion! They say it isnt possible, or feasible yet... but I remember in the eigth grade, my science teacher, Mr. Samualson performing cold fusion right in our classroom in 1968!!! Whats the hold-up, Scientist Guys?
 
Pretty good thread for a ghost town. 
 
+Chad Pratt Sources?

Also, solar panels are expensive, but the more people producing them the more chances of more efficient and safer models of production.  The modern ancestor of the car was developed in 1885, it wasn't until 1914 that the cars became mass produced.  It may be more expensive now, but it won't get cheaper unless people dive into the industry and innovate technologies.  
 
In Europe as in China, much of the solar power industry is supported by government funds. After Solyndra and the dumping of Chinese solar products on American shores, there is simply no appetite to support much of the American solar industry.
 
Man-oh-man. So true. Depressingly so. We can't see the forest for the trees. Sometimes the solutions are too obvious.
 
I am proud to say that my country will soon become home to the largest solar power plant on the world. Even though Serbia is abundant of traditional energy resources - water and coal, and one of the lowest electricity prices in Europe, our authorities decided to switch them mainly with the Sun. 
 
+Al Kenyon this cold fusion thing is popping up everywhere now. wonder what's in it. but solar power is to be preferred, I guess ...
 
Maybe the size of the U.S. is bigger than Germany with different a different population? But thats impossible since every country is a perfect square witht he same area!
 
At Merck's headquarters in New Jersey they have huge solar arrays installed and are adding them elsewhere. Somehow I don't think they would just throw the money away on a fanciful idea or mere green publicity.

I think there are a lot of good ideas mentioned in these posts, such as using energy (however it is produced) more wisely and taking into account any harmful byproducts and limitations of large scale solar installations. That said, it seems to me that the supply fossil fuels are eventually going to diminish and the storage of nuclear spent fuel has never been adequately addressed aside from safety risks with operating plants.
 
I see absolutely no reason why we are kissing the behind of the Oil and Gas fracking fuel industry instead of pushing wind and solar. I am trying to rally support on a State level and there is simply no interest due to the costly prohibition against the expension of these industries. We re-license out-of-date Fucashima type nuclear reactors and yet not one word on developemental efforts to push safe clear renewable sources like solar and wind generation. WHAT MORE NEEDS TO HAPPEN? Do we need to loose Detroit as almost occurred from Monroe? Shame on us! Please, WAKE UP!
 
As someone who is married to a German and spends a lot of time over there, I can safely say they're streets ahead of Britain when it comes to renewable energy and recycling.

If the SNP get there way, hopefully Scotland won't be too far behind.
 
So why is Germany getting such a massive amount of power from France and then claiming Zero carbon emissions because you have no power stations ?
 
when its cloudy we`ll use hydro-electric dams to power stuff!
 
I wish the rest of the world had your common sense!!! I'm all for it
 
Because it is their fault +John Madison Republicans don't support renewable energy at all. What legislation has speaker Boehner introduced that creates renewable infrastructure? What renewable projects has any (R) Governor initiated/completed? The Democrats have failed to make a coherent argument in favor of renewable energy but Republicans dont support renewables at all and the GOP record reflects that.
 
The only reason solar companies fail is Chinese subsidized panels flooding the market
 
And if you're talking economic impact, diversification of our energy sources (more options available) will only strengthen our economy.  Coal and Oil are oligopolies only way to bust them is government intervention (not going to happen with our current campaign contribution system) or less reliance upon them.  
 
sure, it's easy for Germans to have solar power because they have giant uninhabited deserts where the sun shines almost every day (like in Arizona/New Mexico/Texas/Utah/Colorado etc etc) but here in America we have much more important issues to tackle before economic success... like gay marriage and abortion.

Because NOTHING ensures economic prosperity like homophobic bigotry.
 
Why can we do this? Maybe we are waiting for the prices to drop based on sales... :~)
 
That is BS... they pay a high price for it. Electric bills are horrible there! As a matter of fact, everything is really expensive there. Apart from that, they only do 'well' since they cut so many benefits and then capital flight to safety. You know, they have a low unemployment rate in Thailand too, but do you really want to live like that?
 
Not till we rid America of the oil barons and politicians in their pockets
 
When it becomes economically viable of course.
 
I hate blaming lobbyists for everything, like some stupid protesting college student who thinks he knows everything, but I'd have to say they're a possible reason.
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The problem is the corps want a restriction on power.  To do that they want a Limited distribution system.  They make money selling the FUTURE of power from 1 place to another, before its created.
The MAIN difficulty tends to be Storage.  Its not easy storing power for any duration of time.
In the USA, there is another problem.  They have restricted the setting up local power generation.  Then, if you do you can only get CREDIT for power generated, towards using the Corp power.  If you can prove that you can generate LOTS of power to put into the system(over $1m worth of data) the corp keeps Fighting you.
I love the thought of shipping CHEAP tech to other nations so they can start with Solar.  but the cost in the USA is 10 times what we give 3rd world nations.
 
I have 30 solar panels on my roof generating over 6,000 watts at peak.   Net electricity cost annually is negative!  The problem with clean energy in the U.S. is that we are an oil producer and many oil companies are U.S. based - they will continue to fight any energy source that they don't control.  So far, they have been quite effective.  It takes only a few people like +Chad Pratt to sow seeds of doubt with a little disinformation.  Germany does not have to fight the resistance of the oil companies.
 
Does that mean "When it's possible to make more money out of it than can be done by wheeling and dealing oil on the Stock Exchange"?
 
Europe > America. It's always been like that and will always be like that.
 
So that's where Solyndra's money went! Better let Obama know!
 
+Patrick Armstrong I read some data a couple of days ago indicating that most people in Eurooean countries consider Germany to be the least corrupt of European counties. I thought that was interesting. I wish i could point to it with a link or something but I can't remember where i read it.

Germany has done quite well to improve their image since the Second World War. The US on the other hand has pretty much achieved the opposite in the same period of time.
 
Solar isn't feasible as a complete (or even partial) replacement because our weather conditions are too varied across the country. Also, people's immortal soul (and the murdering of the unborn) ARE of greater importance. This world is only a temporary place. Put your faith and focus on things of eternal concern.
 
Before we can stick our head in the sand we have to get it out our arses first.
 
The world needs to return to growing and using Hemp as a renewable energy source. 
 
Germany's defense is subsidized by US military bases, so they don't have to tax their people and corporations for the same amount of benefits.
 
We need our open space for crops in the USA since we feed the world. Fusion is our future.
 
Interesting article but that is Germany, which has a population 1/4 that of the United States. Also, the article states it provided 22 Gigawatts. Current U.S. federal tax credits are estimated to provide an additional 28 Gigawatts to our infrastructure. On top of that, solar yields are still very low as far as efficiency goes. I would rather have the country wait a few years so that efficiency can break even 40% so we don't end up spending billions on 25% efficiency, then spend the money again to upgrade.
 
+Joseph A Nagy Jr I would argue that even if a few areas who could (southern states, etc) switch to solar power made the switch, it would create less demand and overall decrease the price of coal and oil.  However, we all know these companies also control supply, so market economics don't really apply here. 

I guess it's great in theory.  Too bad it's about profits and not about renewable energy.
 
+Greg Kellogg my sources are personal knowledge. I have ventured into energy efficiency. Other than my truck, muscle car, and smart phone everything i own is energy efficient including the construction of my house. I also researched alternative power sources and the costs just didn't add up.

Until efficient battery sources that are also affordable and long lasting is created - solar will never be a cost efficient solution.
 
It would never work in Washington...
 
Hahahaha yeah why is america so screwed up?
 
If only +Robert Llewellyn could educate you sill, silly people. Solar is just part of the puzzle. Damn you guys slating the Leaf not having enough 'machismo'

Faggots.
BAG GAB
 
+Axel Kratel Well, I couldn't have said it better, except the bit about the sand.  We should be getting "sand in our heads."  There are some hidden expense to be borne in the future, but individual incentives for selling back the power at a fixed future rate was a winner.
 
Totally true. Why can't we surpass Germany with solar. It's TOTALLY cheap.
 
+Chad Pratt You have valid points, but you're also quitting before trying.  Innovation doesn't just happen, you need to pay a little more and put a little more effort in the beginning.  
 
There are pro's and cons to everything. If you do not have a battery bank and are relying on the solar gauge thingy  it will tell you how many arns oops hours of energy you have stored in your panels. 
Then again solar power is not the only energy type this planet has. There is also wind and thermal power.
 
We will have solar power as soon as the politicians croak
 
My thought was always this: the smaller demand power plants are almost always coal or oil. When the next one burns out, instead of retooling, or building a new one, put solar panels on the homes of the power company subscribers. Rent the panels just like the meters. Transmission losses: almost gone. Demand is higher in the summer, but so is the hours of sun light. Neighborhood to neighborhood transmission of excess power should level.

I know, pipe dream. But I don't see why this won't work in, say, Las Vegas, or Phoenix, or Albuquerque. 
 
Too many politicians have an intimate relation ship with oil, or rather the money it brings in... Renewable energy is the future, but until we can get politicians who actually care about America and not their own wallets we are doomed.  
 
Until Congress passes a bill to charge extra tariffs on China solar panels.  Then the "cheap solar" will go away.  All the US manufacturers are whining they cant compete.   right now a China solar panel, Mono Crystalline or Poly, is 1/3rd the price of a US made panel.  I can actually afford China panels, I could never afford US made panels.  I wont touch the thin film junk.  It has almost no lifespan compared to Mono or Poly.
 
So, all of that energy solar panels are diverting to power your iPad was supposed to go where? Oil, gas, nuclear and coal are passive energy stores where sunlight, hydro and wind are part of active environmental systems. Despite conspiracy theory and evil plots, we still don't know enough to begin another path to our own demise. Barring the zombie apocalypse, we should be here a few more generations and will need the ecosystem to get to see the promise of McFly's hoverboards. Mr. Fusion is the answer.
 
I am not going to pretend to be an expert on the cost of solar, but the article itself states that Germans pay a higher cost for energy as a result of solar power. Given the inflated cost, why would you use Germany's economy as an argument for America to do the same thing?
 
Perhaps, perhaps not. Depends on the costs of electricity, Hier und im Deutscland.
 
If it is so great then do it! Dont ask me to pay for your energy! In Germany the poor subsidize the reach who can afford solar with government handouts it is still very expensive. My sister just got her roof done in Germany. I asked her if it is going to pay off and she would even know. They did it because it felt right!
 
You'd be surprised how cheap it is to install some solar power capacities. It's just the cost of a small war or two.
 
They also have, I believe!... A technology that turns Human waste
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Rare Earth mining and processing causes great environmental damage in China, but that's far away so who cares if the solar panels are cheap
 
Our country is still innovative. The problem is we get too political about the results instead just trying it in making it better as we go. 
 
Yeah, we burn it off in flares. Awesome!  Thanks for the post, Axel. Sand?
 
Wait till Germany has no more money after bailing out the PIIGS, then they will stop throwing money down the drain, which is subsidizing solar.
 
As of Feb. 2012, 20% of Germany electricity powered by all "green' energy sources COMBINED. Government is reducing its SUBSIDY of solar power by 30% because of high cost of program. Green energy industry cannot survive without government subsidies. It is NOT economically viable at this time. In U.S. fossil fuels receive about 80 cents per kilowatt hour in subsidy, while solar and wind receive about $24 per kilowatt hour. You do the math.
 
This is not true! German cities are running on coal because solar can't cut. Quit lying about alternative energies. They are not ready for primetime.
 
Solar may help, but does not produce enough storage power fast enough. You would have to plant feilds and fields and then some to be able to transfer over completly. I forgot the name of the company, but Obama gave them billions of dollars to go in the solar power direction, and so far they failed and need another bail out.
 
solar is nothing compared to nuclear power plants. nuclear is the best, most eco friendly solution and takes up wayyyy less space, and work effort. 
 
The US govt makes more in taxes than the gas companies make in profit per gallon of gas. Solar is also still very expensive and and inefficient. The amount of space required to generate on a large scale is enormous. I personally love the idea of the solar roadways project that was going on.
 
Solar is good but ENERGY EFFICIENCY is better, particularly in homes and work spaces. 'Home performance' saves waaaaay more CO2 per dollar invested than solar PV or thermal, and creates more local jobs. And it makes homes more COMFORTABLE. People who install solar before they fully insulate, weatherize and install high efficiency HVAC and other appliances have their priorities BACKWARDS. - EPA, DOE, NREL, etc all agree on this fundamental point.
 
I agree with Justin Hardigree. More nuke plants, but not on a fault line please...
 
Its about 3x the size of Ohio, 140k sq mi vs 45k sq mi, and has about 82 million people.  Smaller area can be good or bad.  Less of a distribution problem but they don't have the entire south western states devoid of life and with ample sunlight all year.
 
Hey, guys, you know what, all these cheap penal crap stuff are made in China. And your iPhone and Icraps.
 
There are much better sources of energy than solar.
 
+William Peloquin The US govt. "makes" nothing in terms of profit... the government of our country in not a business and does not operate as one.  It is there for the greater good of all US citizens.  +Justin Hardigree is completely correct in that we should be investing heavily in nuclear power yesterday to meet the energy needs of tomorrow AND to save the environment.  I'd point everyone to George Monbiot's exceptional writing in this area. http://www.monbiot.com/category/nuclear/
 
The Solar energy is Very useful and good Option in front of Nuclear Power over the World.
 
So Germany ran half of its power grid on solar for a few hours over the span of a couple days. I don't see how this proves that solar is a reasonable resource for sustained consumption. Germany is about 1/27th the size of the US, so half of that would be 1/54th (~1.8%). Renewable energy accounts for about 14% of the US energy consumption, which is obviously more than 1.8%. It should also be noted that Germany imports the vast majority (2/3) of its energy resources from other countries, and is the fifth largest consumer of oil in the world...begging the question that if solar is so amazing for their country, why are they importing so much, and why consume so much oil? I'm afraid the linked article paints the larger picture of energy consumption in relatively simple terms, and chooses to conveniently ignore other facts that inflate the importance of running 50% of the country's power off of solar between the mid-day hours on Friday and Saturday as it pertains to renewable energy as a primary source of power.
 
not really  for 1 day only and that day was a Saturday. half the business where closed. the annual figure is 4%. and that is highly subsidize. without that it would not be cost effective. and if your not paying for it somebody else is      
 
We need transparent photovoltaics so all windows on large office buildings can power the building.
 
yup i too think so it is wast of time and money too


it wil be better that we try on atomic energy


less time and more power
 
You have to love the pessimism. All of you who say it is impossible, or too expensive are way off base, and are speaking with ignorance. Solar isn't the only alternative energy. Greed,Selfishness, and politics rule all. And those attitudes just fuel the negligence to our issues. Instead of bickering about what we can and can't do, just get off of your lazy rear ends and make any difference you can. Even if its just staying informed. Germany can do it because they want to, not because it is geographically small.
 
I discussed this post with 1 person in a hangout.
 
Running on solar power, or: has solar panels installed? The two are vastly different. I'm sceptical to believe that half of their energy comes from solar power. Many sunlight hours needed to be effective. Also payback period of solar installations is typically 20 plus years....
 
+Alias Aliases That's not true.  China quadrupled Obama's investment in solar panels in order to cut off the American attempt to enter that market - they flooded it with cheap panels below cost.  Of course, the Republicans did not respond, but let it die in order to further their petty ambitions.  The fact is, solar would work very well for the southern states, particularly in the west.  The problem is the American black/white outlook that says there can only be one good answer, when the reality is that a combination of renewable energy technologies could easily replace the antiquated coal/oil-based energy tech.
 
Half of Germany was for the better part of an afternoon, using power generated by Solar plants.

But that title doesn't look as impressive.

I like Treehugger, good articles with great sources, except for the fact that they need to polarize EVERYTHING.
 
I know this is counter productive to capitalism and the power company, but if they came and installed solar cells on my house and all in the neighborhood we could reduce the dependence nation wide.
 
the us will never go to solar power unfortunately, they want to make the arabs richer.
 
Germany is thriving because of fiscally conservative spending, not because of where their electricity happens to come from. Solar is not a viable main energy source because it's reliant on the sun, while human power consumption does not rise and fall with the sun. Fission and fusion are the only viable future sources.
 
Building solar panels is a losing proposition. So far, no one has been able to build them cheap enough for it to make financial sense. With GE in the game, there's some hope. These manufacturers drop like flies for a reason.
 
 The problem is greed with the Market in America certain Industries and industry leaders are looking at the revenue aspect as oppose to the  overall solution to todays changes. They want to implement a system where they will make it harder to achieve the overall goal of transitioning totally to solar power. They in the interim will be losing millions in crude oil production OPEC.
 
shit yes!  We need to get this.  Im getting so fed up with America.
 
+Samuel Penn I had the same nagging suspicion. From the reference article in The Guardian:

Germany ... gets about four percent of its overall annual electricity needs from the sun alone.

While the article proves solar power can be somewhat viable, huge difference between 50% and 4%!
 
Homeowners get tax credits and subsidies in some states to build solar. For a neighbor, the break-even on solar was 5 years.
 
It's about the "midday hours". We can not have solar power into the night. And the wind is tricky too! The electricity demand is increasing, so the amount of electricity needed from now on could be wind, solar, bio... but the conventional resources of energy will provide the main demand of electricity for many years from now on.
 
fruitful thinking that is, most importantly, applied.
 
Germany has a vibrant economy; therefore, they can afford to upgrade their properties. The US economy is still in the toilet.

I'd love to see us free of oil, though.
 
half of germany running on solar power. when is america going to get its head out of the sand and get with the program. solar it's cheaper and feasible now, there is no reason we can't surpasse what germany is doing.
 
In California the break even average is 8 years and it requires an average of $10,000 out of pocket plus and average loan of $25,000 to pay for it. It does not seem to be that affordable here
 
Starting to add solar heat pumps to our new houses at PPC Dwaalboom's Village. It is nowhere, just a dot on the map. Our friends in US needs to get on with it 
 
In my opinion the idea of producing electrical energy in huge amounts at point A and providing it at B, C and D is more or less from the last century. There are already villages who installed their own wind-power -plants, biogas-plants,... Guess what the electricity-provider decided when they wanted to use the already installed network to distribute the energy in the village. Of course, they said NO! So they also setup their own new network (This where "eco" ends for the providers: when they don't profit anymore, unlike all the other subsidized green-projects they mention in their ads). Now, energy is actually cheaper and they even make money, when selling what they don't need, which is sometimes even more than 90% of the production. Only the industry needs large scale power-plants.
BTW: Austria could run completely on renewable energy. Our hydroelectric power plants would produce enough, but since importing energy from other countries (with nuclear power plants) is cheaper, we import it. (Ironically, people often claim to be proud of our country not having nuclear power plants) At this point I have a question for the "specialists" in Brussels: Assuming we run completely on renewable energy: Why do we have to use "energy-saving" actually non-environmental-friendly (production, recycling => mercury) light bulbs, when our energy is produced "100% green". It's the same about wasting water: How can you actually waste water when it comes from the mountain and ends up in a river and finally in the ocean? I'm pretty sure no one will miss the water in the ocean. That's usually the point where the "eco-guys" have already stopped thinking (and where the lobbying starts)... That's one of the reasons why I'm always sceptic, when it comes to the eco-stuff. Usually it's just marketing, lobbying,...Not everything is bad, but the intentions are usually wrong, since companies don't care about the environment; history has taught us this often enough. CO2-friendly has become THE marketing slogan of the 21st century. Think about production and recycling (assume it will not be recycled properly) what ever they call CO2-friendly. Solar-Panels, Lithium-Batteries, electric cars... that's not growing on the trees. Finish the calculation, before calling something environmental-friendly! Most of that stuff often has to last longer than it's usual life-cycle to be actually environmental friendly.
No, I'm not a pessimist, I'm realist. And these products do make sense for some applications, but "CO2-friendly" doesn't directly mean buying/supporting whatever it is, is actually good for the environment.
Example: If you only drive every weekend 50km/35miles to your grandma you better keep your old car until it brakes instead of buying a "e-car". To get back to topic: photovoltaic and other solar energy-converters in northern Europe are almost the same problem... 
Please do not blindly support the eco-lobby! It's often not good for our environment (and I'm sick of reading and hearing CO2 everywhere). Thank You!
 
Alex Kratel;

I would like to share with you some comments on your stated facts not fiction.

Limited Consumer Knowledge on Solar/Wind Technologies Inc., a very small and unknown company I started back in 2000, addressed these same issues you are addressing now. AMERICANS ARE TREND RIDERS. If they don't see the next person doing it. WHAT THE HELL.
 
Would an 11 pv panel (generating roughly 12 kW per day) cost €8000 as we have here in Malta? I think its still expensive for the amount of electricity that's generated.
 
If your car runs it.. like lights radio ect.. then u can run it from solar power direct.. both are 12 volt.. try it.. running lights for bright lights at night..
 
+rick lennox Agreed! I did go solar at home and will see a 6 year payoff on that investment at today's rates. But I live in So Cal where the decision was almost a no-brainer. Continued iteration of the technology, and it's placement, is key. Trying to mandate for today or tomorrow would be a huge, wasteful mistake. But "we" should keep trying.
 
 The End of Nuclear, (Oil is next...)

Meanwhile, the cost of PV has already fallen well below that of nuclear and is set to fall further. The average retail price of solar cells as monitored by the Solarbuzz group fell from $3.50/watt to $2.43/watt over the course of the year, and a decline to prices below $2.00/watt seems inevitable. For large-scale installations, prices below $1.00/watt are now common. In some locations, PV has reached grid parity, the cost at which it is competitive with coal or gas-fired generation. More generally, it is now evident that, given a carbon price of $50/ton, which would raise the price of coal-fired power by 5c/kWh, solar PV will be cost-competitive in most locations.

The declining price of PV has been reflected in rapidly growing installations, totalling about 23 GW in 2011. Although some consolidation is likely in 2012, as firms try to restore profitability, strong growth seems likely to continue for the rest of the decade. Already, by one estimate, total investment in renewables for 2011 exceeded investment in carbon-based electricity generation. 
Commentary: http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-end-the-nuclear-renaissance-6325
 
France has the more sustainable model for the near term - 80 percent of its electricity is generated by nuclear power. It is physically impossible for 50 percent of the US's electricity to be provided by solar, at least using US land. Not to mention the cost.
 
+Thomas Qne 
You have a valid point about the absurdity of investing in new energy saving devices when their use is minimal.

With that said, you have a pretty childish view of wastewater.  If your model of Toilet --> River --> Ocean is how Austria does in fact treat their water, then I think you have bigger issues than renewable energy...
 
The "fossil energy" people have massive power.  Remember the OPEC countries pump the oil out of the ground; but it's the oil  companies that really call the shots at the retail level.  Then you have the coal companies that talk about "clean coal"--that's an oxymoron to best all others.  Coal is pure carbon, and no amount of "scrubbing" is going to change that depressing fact.  Our electrical grid is still powered by coal--not from West Virginia but from Wyoming.  The sooner coal-fired plants are converted to natural gas(that the US has in abundance.)   the sooner we solve our dependence on other fossil fuels.  What do we do with all that coal?  Ship it to China and India and hope that the winds blow away from our shores. (We could also just leave it in the ground.  What a radical idea!!
 
LOL, "Why can't we get on to real issues?" So true. But just a question (I'm not trying to be a jackass) Isn't wind power less expensive? I know some people hate the look of turbines, but maybe we could do it off-shore. 175 million megawatt hours is roughly 21 billion dollars if the turbines operate at 30%. 30 because the wind doesn't always blow/maitanence (spelled that wrong, I know) I don't know too much about solar, so please kindly correct me if I am wrong.
 
Solar is far from cheap, and that's the main problem. I'm an electrical designer, and clients love the idea of going solar......that is until the contractors come back with prices that make the payback 10-15 years down the road. Cost of going solar is still very high for the commercial industry.
 
The other problem is that Americans are incredibly provincial. In spite of seeing examples in other countries (e.g., solar power, healthcare), they refuse to take advantage of those examples.
 
In addition very temperate month. In winter or summer you can bet those carbon fires plants are in full swing.
 
+Vincent Wilkinson; I think your data is old.  This seems to show reasonably up to date data: http://www.infoworld.com/d/open-source-software/why-the-gpl-licensing-cops-are-the-good-guys-194565?page=0,1    Whilst solar electricity is not as cheap as coal, it's already cheaper than gas and becoming cheaper than nuclear (remember that nuclear gets lots of subsidies, especially in insurance, so the price shown is probably lower than the reality).  

Solar also has a couple of benefits.  The peak in production is approximately the same as the peak in air conditioning usage.  Also, with nuclear, for example, shutting down and starting up a plant can take days.  With solar panels you can just switch them off and on as needed.  

Basically you need a big mix of different sources.  
 
But only the daytime half . . . 
 
It will never happen in the USA...
 
It will take longer just for the fact that America is just a little bit bigger in size. 
 
We claim to be a world leader for energy but we rely on old techniques that have only driven us deeper into consistently relying upon those means for our everyday consumption. Lack of funding into energy bills have long been drawn out and we are in desperate need of a new reusable source.
 
I love solar power yet only now I just thought about installing it in my new home. Brain fart.
 
I discussed this post with 2 people in a hangout.
 
yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
 +TS Resha I wouldn't worry.  You will still want the grid company.  You can store energy in batteries, but it's inefficient.  The best way is to sell your surplus to the grid during the day and use grid electricity from other sources (such as nuclear plants which can't be turned off just because everyone's asleep).  during the night.  If you could get solar roofing tiles when building a new building or re-roofing anyway this would probably even make more economic sense than making a utility solar installation in an unihabited area.  
 
The short answer: as long as non-renewables are cheap.
 
We put solar for our house. The ROI is not great nor did we expect it, but everyone just did a little bit, it sure would help. As they say it takes a village to raise a generation who will take it upon themselves to make a difference (took some liberties on the saying) 
 
So many people on this post are still missing the main point.

Reducing consumption in the USA by 50% is feasible - for 1/3rd of the cost of moving to solar as a retro fit. OR Building efficient homes in the first place At The Same Cost as how you are currently building!

And I'm not talking anything "New Fangled" or Outlandish - visually you would know no difference. Wake Up America You are being duped by big industry AGAIN - this time the Wood Industry!

Concrete Homes are now cheaper to build than wood - and if anyone disagrees, you are asking the wrong builder . . .

Retro-fit exterior insulation is the way forward, not fitting expensive and pollution causing Solar Panels see http://www.quadlock.com/retrofit_insulation/ or build a new home right.
 
Population of 81M versus 350M. I'd say it's a scale issue.
 
Solar is far from cheap. My system just for my home costs over $40,000.
 
Solar? Lul try heavy ion fusion noobs, go America. Solar wont be feasible until they market that nanotech/chloroplast paint with at least 2% efficiency.
 
Super funny I am german and I say DO NOT BELIVE EVERYTHING! 
Germany is one of the leaders in Eco Friendly energy - True
Germanys economy is thriving - True 
The average german uses less energy than the average american also true (since energy in Germany is super expensive).
Solar Power however has a ridiculously small percentage in the energy mix. The larger amount is coming from wind turbines. Both however are not 100% reliable and thanks to our four energy companies that hinder the power grid development where ever they can, the energy cannot be delivered where it is needed. An example many wind turbines are shut down in the north since the power companies favor centralized energy production with coal, gas and oil to drive the industry centers of the south and the middle of Germany. 
 
I don't know why,but maybe,our government think that it's not time to replace the oil……
 
The articles numbers are bad. How could the entire solar industry get a billion if one company (Solyndra) already cost us 535 million? And let's not forget all of the environmental hazards that are used to create those panels
 
our country will not drop fossil fuels as long as people in power are making money hand over fist with it. im so glad to see other countries doin what we are too stupid to do though. con gratz to germany. 
 
USA is all about big business . With that said companies like Exxon , Hess , BP , Shell , Sunoco , etc..... They have the finl word as to what energy is used . GM had the electric car thing down YEARS ago with the EV BUT government at that time and the presidential cabinet would have lost MILLIONS in petroleum industry . Solar for USA yea sure . A few telephone polls here and there aren't gonna do it . Electric companies are already finding ways to hammer you . Put panels on your roof and pay monthly surcharges cause it STILL has to be wired into THEIR electrical meters .......... Until solar can be independent to a property the PROPER way we are slaves to big business
 
Isn't current solar panel technology horrendously inefficient? I could be wrong, but I believe +Jochen Müller when he says most of the clean energy comes from wind turbines.
 
I know u.s should be more dependent on other energy. It would be more costly but more effective in the long run
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If you want electricity sufficient and cheap to get off of oil, you have to go nuclear. Declaring solar to be the answer because it suits us emotionally is a false trail that will leave you burning more coal and oil than ever. 
 
Ha-ha-ha. Come to Bulgaria. We expect here price to go up with around 9%. Cause - more sources producing green energy. This is unbelievable!
Only in Bulgaria !
 
+Ian Chisholm ! Thanks for your comment, but the waste of water I was talking about is the one in (for example) your garden (let's call it "outdoor use"). Even for the cleaning of water it wouldn't be a big deal, since the amount of "dirt" remains the same. I know this doesn't work for most other countries, since they have to completely recycle their water. Anyway, that doesn't stop Austrian (!) politicians, companies, institutions... from using it as (wrong) arguments for their purpose in Austria. Tricking people into believing they do something good for the environment to increase profit... I'm tired of it.
Jack Le
 
When stupid regulations stripped down in half then US will get back on its feet.
 
+Larry Olson Really? And from where comes the Uran? 1/3 of nuclear power comes from disarmed atomic bombs. Uran mines are not able to support existing atomic power planrs
 
I like the "All Energy" approach. Solar, Wind, Bio, new energy sources via research, energy conservation, etc. so the combined resources of all may some day power 50% of USA. (Hopefully before we run out of oil.) And as we work towards that goal, oil will become cheaper, dependency less. It is clear from these discussions, one single approach will not succeed. (with today's energy industry and options). Hopefully with considerable research investments, a new source that is cheaper, greener to make and use will arise. What do you all think about Ocean energy? like ...http://pinterest.com/plctech/ocean-energy/
 
Rock on, +Harvey Allen Jowers - a quote from the wikipedia entry: "Germany is the fifth largest consumer of oil in the world. Russia, Norway, and the United Kingdom are the largest exporters of oil to Germany, in that order."

Doh!
 
+Larry Olson  Nobody in this post is declaring solar to be the sole answer, solar is part of energy independence, the point of the article is that America can do more than it is. If even a tiny fraction of the oil and gas subsidies and military budget to protect American oil interests abroad went into solar and even safe nuclear power, that would all go a long way.
 
I would love to coat the outside of my house in solar panels. Of course that would cost more that my house did. I guess the US will get its head out of the sand the moment it is financially feasible.
 
+jordan craige its ridiculous to think that solar is the best source of energy out there. I would know I work in the field of energy and we are exploring tons of different ways to harness different types of nuclear power and other sources without the waste or pollutants. And Arjit show some courtsey why don't ya.
 
Well solar power will help alleviate their dependency on oil...hope the rest of the world catches up.  Alternative power from nature can and will be the future.  Oil is finite, whereas wind, solar and water are much more sustainable.
 
Solar Power Math Explained and Simplified offers a practical view of the power calculations needed to see what you use and what solar equipment you'll need to buy. http://www.techienation.com/2008/10/19/solar-power-math-explained-and-simplified/

What this article does not do is lay out the costs to buy equipment, maintain it , and the practical aspects of running a house on/off the grid with solar power.

I see a few people on this thread ( +David Fredericks +Ken Schreiner +dewi Morgan ) mention they have solar power either on home or business. Can you share the details of the costs to get them put in, power produced, costs for maintaining the system, and any subsidies received (tax credits, etc.), and if the extra power is being bought and is the buy back rate market driven or a fixed rate? Details, share details!
 
I don't think half of America would that. Unless it becomes a law.
 
The other half of europe is running on nuclear. When are we going to get our heads out of our ass and go 100% nuclear? It's cheap, it works. Oh, we can't. Enviro-nuts don't like nukes
 
The initial investment of buying the panels and getting it installed it the problem
 
The sun gives off more energy in a second than mankind uses in a decade. We might as well take advantage of that, no?
 
Because clearly that would easily scale in the United States. Thanks for polluting with a cloud of smug.
 
Unless solar power can provide X power all the time industry will never buy it. Same goes for wind.
 
Great stuff, gonna just share the infograph. :P
 
+Axel Kratel you that new all electric Ford Focus is coming out this year and it seem like it will be a more solid electric car then the leaf plus to me look better
 
+Axel Kratel I understand, I think solar is great anywhere in which it makes sense. But people tend to run away with preferred solutions. Reactor types exist now with which it is impossible to have accidents or run hot when people aren't around to tend them. They would truly put everyone behind the wheel of electric cars in a decade, for cheap. But you don't hear about it because of this emotional ball & chain, politicized ideas of what the solution has to be.
 
Maybe because solar is so inefficient and isn't cheap enough to offset our use of coal and oil. Nuclear would be great except the hippies don't like it.
 
+Loki Fults The problem with nuclear is that it's the least safe technology used in order to produce the by-products needed to make nuclear weapons. The safest nuclear technology based on Thorium hasn't seen the light of day yet because it doesn't produce by products that can be used to make weapons.
 
It is embarrassing to call ourselfs the most powerfull country in the world, and be so dependent in oil resources. 
 
I worked in sun power domain for almost one year in europe. Back then, the efficiency of the panels was very low. Maybe enough for normal germany house usage but not for US and specially here in Texas. People I knew in europe used to turn off the light when watching TV for power saving! Almost never use dish washer and very minimal light use! Well can you live like that?
 
Solar panel manufacturing waste negates the benefits of using them.
 
true that, America is focusing on the unimportant stuff while were in a power crysis. 
 
Good luck going solar. Before the panels pay for themselves they'll need to be replaced. Solar energy has a great future, but it's not ready . There's also the issue of storing that much energy. The electricity we consume now is generated just seconds before (maybe less?).
 
First American have to stop wasting un-necessary power.
 
Germany is the size of Montana and a population that of NY City or NJ.  There probably is no one answer for the US,unless perhaps hydrogen based fuels become more cost effective.
 
All it takes is enough people voting with their dollars...
that is, what few we have that Corporate multinationals haven't stripped from us yet...
 
I am all for it as long as business and the free market are doing it. NOT government " investment " or subsidies
 
In my opinion, all the naysayers are right and wrong here. First Germany is much smaller than the US, but you're trying to compare apples to oranges. Each country in the EU can be compared in size to an individual state. America may be a country but she's playing like a continent. The labels are confusing perspective. Secondly, and this is basically the same thing, stop thinking so large. Of course it doesn't make sense for the entire country to move to solar all at once and it doesn't make a lot of financial sense to try to get off the grid right now. But stop for a minute and inventory your home. What is using the most electricity? The air conditioner keeping you comfortable, the hot water heater that sits idle 99% of the time? All the older incandescent light bulbs? Every one of those can be changed to lower your energy usage and in effect get you off the grid. How about researching solar hot water heaters. Those have been around for decades and are very efficient. Look into absorption refrigeration. Your house can be cooled using those same solar heaters with very little electricity. And as far as that is concerned you wouldn't believe how much lower your electric bill will be simply by updating your attic insulation and having your HVAC system serviced by a respectable company. The technology is out now.
 
+Clifton Britt almost 93% of all natural gas imports are from Canada. We have lost no soldiers in wars with Canada in the last two decades. In 2011, the US consumed 24,364,558 million cubic feet of natural gas. We imported only 3,455,946 million cubic feet. That means just over 14% of our natural gas is imported and over 90% of those imports are from Canada. The argument that Americans are dying for natural gas is mute. Solar power is not cheap. It takes a min of $28,000 to intall a home solar power system. You will get a 30% tax payer underwritten refund from the government, meaning I'm paying for your solar (thanks for giving me the choice of either being forced to do something I'm not interested in and robbing others or being robbed by the government to pay you). It will then take a minimum of 10 years and up to 20 years just to recoupe your costs. The systems are warrented for 25 years. This does not include maintenance. The only way solar is "cheap" is if you are a socialist country. I'll stick with natural gas and a free market economy. Keep the government out of the economy, including energy.
 
50% with current solar plants. If you count all available are (rooftops, parking places, building walls, etc) Germany will produce +300% of its demands, even on cloudy days...Cloudy? Winter? Use batteries to store it (at each home/industry)...Pollutant? With current commercial technology is as pollutant as Fuel burning plants! And is pollutant due to bad practices not technology! 
 
We Americans can't see far enough over our fat roles to see the big picture.
 
"Solar is cheap"...yeah, right! Maybe you should go do some research on EIA.GOV, shop around for a system, and do a REALISTIC ROI calc before spewing warm and fuzzy BS from Treehugger.com. 
Edit: I did, about a year ago.
 
America dose have one of the lowest ranked educational systems in the world, people here are to slow to comprehend whats good for our wallets and Earth. To grow our Economy we must grow our self's out of all the less pressing maters and aim for larger ones.
Sean N.
 
LOL @ Paul Neih.  That was epic. 
 
How could you expect America to run on solar power when all of the senators and government make money from oil company lobbying
 
+jody Read do a search on solar panel polution and riots in China. You may change your mind on the human cost of solar power. Once again we are depending on foreign nations for an energy source when over 90% of natural gas resources are in North America.
 
That's amazing what Germany has done but do you seriously think that our sad sorry excuse of a government would do anything sweet like what Germany has done with its clean air, water, and power laws??? Yeah right they gonna party with Obama at the white house and feed us BS about why they refuse to do they job the very next day.
 
Solar power sucks, it is in no way cheap nor feasible.
 
+Roland Mösl I was thinking of the US, in North America we are not short of Uranium.  I was thinking of Pebble Bed uranium reactors and new thorium reactors. 
 
+Joerg Chmiel Congrats Deutschland!!  In a country that sees as about much sun as Michigan (per km^2), this is truly amazing.  Joerg, are you proud, upset by the req'd subsidies, or indifferent??
 
the other half is burning coal for their electricity
 
Well, Germany has the added advantage that we have sorted out the abortion issues in the 70s and the homosexuality ones in the 90s. It helps when you aren't a country full of overtly-religious prudes.
 
Yes because germany and the US are the same size with the same populations.
 
When the crisis appear thats when the government will do something about it, until then we pay the high gas prices at the pump
 
True story: My neighbor is using solar and is having great results.  He has an ideal spot on his garage roof and has covered it with solar panels.  He tells me he's well on track to breaking even on the cost within two years.  
If I had a bit more discretionary cash I might very well do it too, even though I don't have as quite a good spot for it.  It's damn tempting.
 
One problem with solar, a mismatch between when it is available and when power is needed.
 
"Americans will eventually do the right thing, after exhausting all the alternatives." - Winston Churchill
 
High gas prices - rofl how much do you guys pay per litre?
 
Because they didn't lie to go to war to get thousands of soldiers dead for some solar cells
 
Although I adore solar, I also wish for the same push for other innovative energy production technologies. If we can charge our cellphones from a shoe insole when jogging, we can build house floors that generate electricity.
 
why do we keep asking the government to "do stuff" about anything that's not the governments job. government is intentionally slow, so as to be unable to respond fast enough to block innovation if you want america to be an energy independent nation you have to start with yourself.

when you expect american government to fix the problem your results will be overspending and corruption.

See: Solar Trust of America, Bright Source, Solyndra, LSP Energy, Energy Conversion Devices, Abound Solar, SunPower, Beacon Power, Ecotality, A123 Solar, UniSolar, Azure Dynamics, Evergreen Solar, Ener1
 
Energy can be stored, and transported. If we covered the entire state of Arizona with a solar panel, we could power the entire planet 24/7/365. It would also be an aesthetic improvement to this place... ;)
 
what kind of incentives do people receive to justify the investment?
 
+Emre Yucel : I recommend you brush up your geography. Germany does NOT have any desert and the average sunshine duration per day is about 6 hours (over a year). Why do I know this? Because I am German :-)
 
How come we don't have solar panels on every roof?
 
sun don't shine 24/7 .... we need to develop methods of storing energy from solar panels for use later in the day. we also need to diversify our energy sources so we don't rely on one thing alone
 
Jody you may need to translate the litre thing for our American cousins.
 
Perhaps this may be why German Economy is strong?  Politicians and business working together to a greater good?  US politicians can't agree on the color of the sky.
 
Earth simply CAN NOT take much more of this approach we have chosen as a species, when are we going to open our eyes to that? Every mistake we make in the process of changing our ways to more efficient and less polluting solutions and every path that proves wrong in the lab or in practice is a step forward for humanity that I think should be celebrated and encouraged by all of us. Conditions in which the next generations of humanity are going to live, are getting harder and harder, even for this generation and surly for other species. We talk about the price that we have to pay for this shift of energy sources to happen but wouldn’t the price of finding a way of coming back from the “point of no return” that we are going to pass in less than 4-5 years supposing that we continue the destruction of the planet at this rate be much more? Or don’t we believe in that?
 
All I can say is take a look at First Solar!!!!!! They supplied nearly 65% of the solar pannels to Germany. Now the solar pannels are failing within 5-10 years and they still have no got a return on investment for the cost of the pannels that they installed. Now first solar is near bankrupt and holding on to the strings that the share holder lawsuit dosent bury then forever. I solar market isn't there yet. The product isnt proven and even with the cost of pannels dropping still isnt going to out weigh the unstable failure rate of provolic pannels and more stable silcone pannels still cost lots and lots of money. Cost out weighs the rewards of running the pannels. Get your facts straight. Besides solar pannels are government subsidiary and fail when gas is cheap and the have no backing. 
 
+David Fredericks : Just out of curiosity - What was your investment and how long took it to break even? I'm thinking of buying a house in FL and fit it with solar panels because I think, solar power is a no brainer in Florida.
 
Besides many companies are pulling of of germany and closing plants because germany will not fund the market for solar interest in the german economy. Its going to be a struggling market for years to come. Maybe 2025!!!
 
It's not feasible, the argument that using electric cars and solar power create more toxins the just burning fossil fuels. The batteries in electric cars itself is just as harmful if not more to dispose and manufacture and I'm pretty sure that China is the leading manufacturer of solar panels so that doesn't help our dept issue.
 
Indian oil dependency affecting indian economy. Dependency on oil made our environment polluted imagination of oil free world is a imagination of pollution free world
 
Germany also has the truly wonderful (and I mean this entirely unironically) legacy of the authoritarian, anti-democratic Otto von Bismarck. The ground rules established by the Health Insurance Bill of 1883, the Accident Insurance Bill of 1884 and the Old Age and Disability Insurance Bill of 1889 are major reasons why Germany is a civilized place to live and work. The constitution designed by the Allies after the Nazi period is also excellent. As for the economic success, I think there is another, less creditable reason. Germany and its banks have fed off a decade of unsustainable and largely unregulated growth in Southern Europe, and it is pretty clear that this is not going to continue in the same form.
 
It might take 1 or 2 years until 25% of America starts using solar panels. 
 
Brett  that  is  an  incorrect  statement.  The panels  of  all  major  solar  factories have  a  100%  warranty  for  25  years. You  need  to  get  the  FACTS  straight!
 
A lot of British homes have installed Solar power over the past couple of years. The goverment has helped a little with grants but I think that all ends sometime this month. Apparently the energy companies buy the power back off you that you don't use. Don't quote me on any of that though, I haven't really looked into it.
 
I haven't read all 300+ comments to see if anyone ELSE mentioned this. While I am completely for the push for solar or wind energy (or both!) I found one phrase you said to be rather incorrect and people need to realize it is.

"There is no reason we can't surpass this" First, solar isn't THAT cheap. It can still cost a household hundreds, or a business thousands. And second, America is HUGE compared to Germany. In order to get more than HALF of America running on solar power would take millions (if not billions?) of dollar probably. If its only for a weekend, you might be able to find a way to do it a little cheaper.

I am all for America not being lazy anymore and moving forward, but people need to realize it will take time for a country with the infrastructure the size of America's to upgrade on a large scale. It is the same way with our railroads, roadways, power grid, sewer/water lines, network capabilities, etc.

ok I've said my piece and my peace. Again, I don't disagree with the sentiment that we need to head this direction, just don't expect it to happen overnight.
 
I remember seeing an article about a solar farm in Germany...I live in Texas...my thought, where are the solar farms here?
Thanks for posting this!
 
We as Americans are Greedy and No matter the power source we will ALWAYS make it costly to the consumers!!!!!! If not! what are we in business for to make the world a better place & use the tech that we have to solve deaths & sickness, No to make billions then die!!!! What a waste!
 
Yeah to bad the American government (Obama) gave billions of tax payer money to solar energy companies that went bankrupt. 
 
Thats using too much common sense, the really smart people say we need to destroy the earth to heat our homes...........DAAAAHHHH.
 
That's sure a big part of the USA woes... but another is their culture of GREED Is Good! And not help each other out....Too much Individualism??? 
 
India already started solar energy plants in gujrat
 
Totally right I'm actually pro-life and for same sex unions. But the laws for abortion have been decided and homosexuality is not going away. We need to stop pretending like not letting same sex couple have rights is going to end the relationships. Let's move on to the issues that are going shape and save us as a society. 
 
The biggest problem with this is that most of our homes, office buildings, etc are all fitted with energy inefficent appliences. Take a look at what is suggestion to someone who is thinking about switching their home to solar power. First thing? Switch water heaters, stoves and the like to gas so they don't guzzle up your solar power. Our society was built on oil/gas we have to change a lot before we can simply "switch to solar". Another problem is that solar panels aren't quite efficent enough in converting light to power very low percentage rates so you need large amounts of solar panels to make a whole country run on solar panels. Transportation of this power is another struggle electricity loses power over distance and time this is why oil/coal/gas work better for places like my home state of FL due to the fact that it gets cloudy literally EVER DAY so there is time when solar power would dip drastically. Think about places like seattle! It rains non-stop there. in order to get them the power they needed we would have to "pipe" it in to them which would require us throwing more electricity than was needed to the state of Washington to make up for the degradation over distance. (Also Washington would propbably have to by electricity from another state which would be a little strange economicly, but could work.)  Lasty, look at who is making the solar panels... It is Germany themselves. The reason why we don't have solar panels galor is really because we out source everything. It's cheaper to buy them from germany so we don't build them here. In order to "switch to solar" we would have to hand over trillions of dollars to Germany (money we already don't have). Honestly, if you want solar panels the best thing we could do is get ride of some of these laws that make it harder for businesses and business owners to hire more poeple produce a cheaper product and build here at home. We do that, the "American Solar Panels" become cheaper and it builds the local economy allow for more money to be spend on... SOLAR PANELS!
 
Simply not true! Its misuse and abuse of statistical data!
More correct to say that approx 20% of Germanys renewable power is Solar power, but then again! Most of Germanys power is created by coal power plants and nuclear!

But Ilike the fact that they are improving.
 
+Tommy Guzman I get what you mean, but...   The idea of a subsidy is to help get a potentially valuable industry off the ground.  Solar, at least for home and local business use, has been gradually turning into a viable industry, to the point where it doesn't necessarily need subsidizing anymore.
For everyone else re: storage and distribution - That's kinda the oil mentality talking.  Consider solar more of a viable supplement rather than a replacement.  I don't think this really works as a 100% replacement for anything else, but it CAN be a valuable augmentation to reduce the need for other stuff, like coal for example.  Don't think of it as a public utility yet.  Think of it as a very localized thing.  Individual houses and businesses.  It's working pretty well there.
While I'm on the topic, a thought about efficiency.  Earlier I mentioned a neighbor successfully using solar to dramatically reduce his electric bill.  Consider that this is in Seattle.  Not exactly a locale renown for sunshine.  It's an interesting thing about current solar technology that it is more efficient in cooler temperatures.  Cooler northern climes are actually a very good place for it.  Just make sure you do a thorough site survey.  That's rather important.
Anyway, not best for EVERY location, climate, and application but...  it can be very useful when applied appropriately.  There are businesses large and small in Seattle lining their rooftops with solar.  It IS slowly catching on.  At least here.
 
Lets face it. It's all about the $ nothing else. Whatever they can do to make more $ is what they'll do.
 
Legislate on the maximum amount of power consumer electronics use on standby.

7% Energy savings in USA . . . . Stop falling for buying extra things to "help" - instead, concentrate on economising what you use!!
 
The whole African continent should be on solar now!! All year round the sun is blazing hot
 
Solar energy will be a good source of energy once the high price of the solar panels have been reduced and the improvement and cost of the batteries are reduced so they are more affordable for the common man to purchase and use.  As it is, a person would have to refinance their home for at least a 20 year note to afford the solar system setup and that is with the help of the Federal Government, who by the way is getting their money from us to pay us for putting in the expensive solar panels which only leads to more inflation and loss of jobs.  We have enough sources today of fuel oil, natural gas, and coal to last us several hundred years.  The only reason to go solar is the so called "Climate Change" which every one knows by now was a Liberal Threat to force us to purchase what they have heavily invested into.  We know know that was all a made up fairy tale, besides, the way I see it if you are a tree huger you would be thankful for the fuels being burned off to provide for your tree which will in turn provide us the oxygen we need.  We need to get America working again and that means we need power to run our factories, homes, transportation, and every thing else we require to be a "civilized nation".  Those that do not understand this need to go to a third world nation where they still believe in your train of thought and you can take your goat with you.  Well, at least that is my opinion as it is. 
 
Probably when it becomes profitable for energy companies to invest in it.
 
The oil companies must not have German officials in their back pockets like they do the U.S. Congress and Obama administration!
 
When is America going to get solar power energy 
 
Solar power is not cost effective in third world countries.... this is very important to develop solar power technology worldwide. 
 
why not harvest the most abundant energy source in our known galaxy? solar is the way we should have went a long time ago.
 
Rank Country Oil - consumption (bbl/day)
1 United States 18,690,000 
2 China 8,200,000 
3 Japan 4,363,000 
4 India 2,980,000 
5 Russia 2,740,000 
6 Brazil 2,460,000 
7 Germany 2,437,000 
8 Saudi Arabia 2,430,000 
9 Korea, South 2,185,000 
10 Canada 2,151,000 
(CIA Fact Book 2012)

The U.S. will take years to get off of it's Oil economy. Green is to expensive and it has to be done by the private sector; Gov. intervention only makes things worse. Just look how badly our President has done and how much he has put this country in debt.

Germany is almost 4th in Oil consumption...
 
+James Milner: Good call IRT the size comparison.  I mentioned the same thing in a similar post about German solar power.
 
Axel, it is nice to read what you are posting, but half of their energy is a lot of gigawatts. What is the source? Is there any public place where people could read the daily energy production? I would expect to see a marked decline in non-renovable production in the past 10-15 years. Still, I'm very skeptic. Don't misunderstand me. I would be happy. It is just that it is a huge figure, and without verifiable references in your posting any person with a basic course in thermodynamics would feel the same.
 
I hope asap we start we start running on solo power!
 
That is very good question . I hope our gov't make a big push to solar power , that is what this country needs now .
 
Solar maybe feasible but it is definitely not cheap initally to install. The efficiency of cells in solar panels is really low so it also needs a lot of area on the roof to generate equivalent amount of energy.
Nevertheless we all have to shift our attention towards it when we eventually run out of non renewable sources of energy.
 
I don't think you can blame your current administration.  The whole world has known that your government is in the pocket of big oil since the time of John D Rockefeller.
 
I am with you all...lets paint the town green!
 
And by the way, why are they ignoring all other renovable sources of energy? 50% only in solar?
 
they need so much solar power because their getting out of nuclear energy.
 
America should get with it and use better energy green energy is what the futire needs.
 
Yes bc Germany = US when it comes to size and population. Get your head out of the sand.
 
This is so weird.  I really don't understand why everyone here makes this out to be a political thing.  This all make perfect sense purely based on the technology and economics involved.  So many political agendas where there is really NO reason for them.
 
Ugh im so disgusted with my country sometimes I wonder if they do the bad choice on purpose
 
With our government trying to control the most unsubstantial things, it forgets to take bigger actions which is required to make US more competitive in today's modern society.
Carl vO
 
+Chad Pratt You are lying through your teeth. Solar panels do hardly require any maintenance. They do not, repeat not lose effectiveness after 3 years but rather last over 20 years. Get your facts together before splurting your reactionary redneck drivel all over the net. Btw it is spelled lose, not loose.
 
+Georg Zoeller  Ha!  You are correct sir!  That's one industry that really doesn't need subsidizing.  
I think the rationale there is to keep fuel prices artificially low, but we're STILL paying for it, just not at the pump.
 
+Glenn C. Riffey? It looks like some of the ones BEFORE your current one put things pretty far off the rails with the pointless adventures in Iraq and Afganistan.Where would the US would be today if those trillions had been spent on retooling America to alternative energy sources instead? If America had been able to get it together as was done pre-WWII, it would probably now be at the very TOP of an equivalent list for green energy use.

And what of all the at home jobs that would have brought with it? Germany is where it is because of forward-thinking government policies; the US is where it is because of, well, you get my point...
 
Solar is a good source of power, but it is not free of environmental negatives (aside from those that result from the production of the panels themselves). We should move to alternative sources rapidly - but turning hundreds of thousands of acres into solar panels is an answer that comes with demons of its own.

There is no such thing as a free lunch and the adoption of a total-solar solution will bite mankind in the same way that the adoption of the total-petroleum solution that was adopted wholesale more than a century ago has.
 
+Eric Flores read the article itself, that should point the way for you to find the sources of the data. It's not continuous, but only on sunny long days.
 
Without living people we wouldn't have to worry about the economy would we!  Over 56 million human babies aborted and still counting.  Not to mention all the Christians being persecuted and put to death all over the world.  Life is the most important component to consider in the politicians we elect.  If they don't value life why would they bother caring about anything else.  You cannot serve 2 gods, God our Father and the almighty dollar at the same time.  We are more worried about what is going on with our money than serving and seeking our God that could easily lead us out of our economic downfall if we would just resort to incorporating biblical principles in running our country.   
 
+Chad Pratt So, how is Germany doing it? And, if fossile fuels are so great, why are we even bothering with solar? Please, I would love to know.
+Bryon Dillon and how do we charge these hydrogen fuel cells?
 
Someone show me how solar is cheap and feasible.  In other words, prove the case.
 
+Joe Parker Hi Joe!  I have a few comments in this thread about a neighbor using solar.  Several Seattle businesses are doing the same, including a convention center attached to the stadium the Seahawks play in.  Check them out if you're interested.  You'll also see a post where I mention solar tech, in it's current state, being maybe better suited as a local thing rather than a utility.
Tony B
+
5
6
5
 
Your statement is terribly inaccurate
 
If solar is so good why do we have pay subsides.
 
Is it real? Germany has not too many sunny days.
 
About 99% of the objections to solar power made in this post just don't make any sense. Here is my final rebuttal:

1) Just because solar may still be too inefficient to cover 100% of our energy use is not an excuse for not doing whatever we can to go solar.

2) Solar today works and is actually efficient enough so that only a fraction of a single family home rooftop can handle all of a household's energy usage.

3) Solar is within economic reach of single family homes because most solar providers now lease the panels at a fraction of the cost of an electric bill.

4) Just because the US is much bigger than Germany is no excuse for not trying our best to go solar. We can get a far bigger fraction of our energy use from solar because we have so much more solar coverage than Germany.

5) Yes, you can charge your electric car overnight because nowadays, the energy your panels make during the day go into the grid, which you can then use at night.

6) For those opposed to solar subsidies, in case you hadn't noticed, the US subsidizes oil, see http://news.yahoo.com/history-u-oil-subsidies-back-nearly-century-215500548.html. Additionally, the US spends a rather large chunk of our National budget on defending our oil interests abroad in order to insure the US has access to enough oil. If we took all that money and subsidized renewable energy instead, we would be much better off.

7) The #1 initiative that got solar going in Germany isn't the subsidies, it's the requirement that the utilities purchase and pay for the solar energy produced by individuals. This offers a great incentive for individuals and small businesses to invest in more solar coverage than what meets their own energy needs. That way, lots of extra energy is produced. In the US, currently, the utilities don't have to pay you for your surplus. In fact, they get to wipe it out every year. 

About the only legitimate objection to solar that someone posted in the comments is related to the mining or rare earths. But then, this is happening anyway because it's not just solar cells that need these, the entire computer and electronics industry is dependent on them.
 
+Axel Kratel : It's a shame this is your final rebuttal, but really, it's not a rebuttal at all. I'd take you through it point by point, but amusingly you start with "About 99% of the objections to solar power made in this post just don't make any sense", but then go on to say:
"a fraction of a single family home rooftop can handle all of a household's energy usage."

Wow! Really? Explain how.

But point 5 has got me REALLY interested:

"you can charge your electric car overnight because nowadays, the energy your panels make during the day go into the grid, which you can then use at night."

Using what? Electricity generated by nuclear, fossil, hydro. Certainly not solar, unless you can explain how this electricity is stored? I'd really, REALLY like to know more. Because so far, very little of what you've said adds up either mechanically, mathematically or financially, and a lot of what you've said suggests a great lack of engineering knowledge and familiarity with generation, electricity grids, usage patterns etc. And your continued use of Germany as an example of solar done well also suggests a lack of familiarity with what a disaster that scheme has been.

I may have missed the bit where you explained your background in all this. Me? I worked at the UK National Grid for several years and have visited Didcot (UK coal), Sizewell (UK Nuclear), Hoover Dam in the USA (hydro), one of the world's largest wind turbine farms near Palm Springs (USA) and a geothermal facility in New Zealand. But then what do I know...
 
+John Harris You claim that I don't know what I am talking about and that you somehow are a guru know it all on the subject. For as much as you claim to know, your condescending comment fails to address any of the points I have made. You offer no facts, data or reasoning for why any of the points would not be valid. Nowhere have I said that solar is the only power source that should be feeding the grid. Of course you need other power sources deuh! The whole point of this article and my post is that the US should be doing a lot more to promote solar as a renewable resource. No one has ever said it has to be the ONLY exclusive source. Enough said, this post will be closed, no more comments.